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The Art of Converting: Build and Track Your Marketing and Sales Funnel

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Learn about the phases of the sales and marketing funnel and how to create super fans of your brand.
Next to having a team of great employees, any business owner will tell you there’s nothing more coveted than having legions of super fans. Delighted customers who sing your brand's praises to anybody willing to listen. But at one point, every single one of those super fans had never even heard of your business before.

How did they make that journey? What was the process? Which steps were most effective and led to their conversion? What do we need to understand to replicate that journey for more new customers?

Most folks use the metaphor of a funnel to visually represent this journey. As a digital marketing agency, Robert Sharp & Associates in Rapid City, SD are experts at creating and optimizing the conversion rates of digital marketing and sales funnels, so those will be the primary focus of this article.

By the end of this blog, you’ll learn about the various layers of a funnel, how to build multiple funnels throughout your business, and how to track actions taken throughout these funnels. Then you can make informed decisions that’ll lead to more sales, more success, and more super fans. Let’s go!

Awareness – The Top of the Funnel

Creating fans who will advocate your business to others begins by making them aware of the fact that you exist. You need to get people into the top of your funnel if you hope they’ll ever emerge on the other side. So how do you do that?

Create Content

In order to be found digitally, you need to exist digitally. To exist digitally, you need to create content that can be discovered via search engines and shared on social media.

Creating content is one way to get users to enter the awareness stage of your marketing funnel.

This can take on many forms, but typically you’ll want to utilize the following mediums:

  • Blogging
    Write articles related to your product and/or your industry. Even tangentially-related topics are helpful. A blog article can be an entire funnel all on its own. Tell your brand’s story.

    If someone who’s unaware of your business searches for the product or service you offer, they see your article in the search engine results pages, and, after reading your entertaining and informative content, decides to make a purchase, you’ve successfully guided them through most of a funnel.

  • Social Media Publishing
    Once you’ve written that blog article, you’ll want to promote it on social media. You’ll also want to create an array of other types of content that’ll engage your audience on the platforms they enjoy spending the most amount of time on.

    Check out this article to get more pointers on how to identify those platforms and effective content strategies.
  • Search Engine Optimization
    If you’re creating content, you’ll want to make sure that its optimized to be indexed in search engines and features some (but not too many) keywords sprinkled throughout the copy your target audience is likely to be searching for.

    SEO is a massive topic so we won’t dive too deeply here, but you can check out this article for great overall SEO tips and this article to see how to boost Local SEO for your business.
  • Video Marketing
    Create videos. Post them on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Embed them on your website and inside your blogs. Be a guest on a YouTube channel based around your niche. If you’re not sure about what kinds of videos you should make, you can always look at other businesses in your niche and see what they’re having success with to start.
  • Podcasts
    Interview people from your industry. From your company. Interview customers. Be a guest on other people’s podcasts. Talk about what you do. You can use the same tactics to inform your podcast content strategy as you do with video.
Paid Advertising

You can always generate awareness by placing ads. There’s many ways you can do that. You’ll want to crunch some numbers and be extra sure the amount you spend justifies what those leads will be worth to you if they make a purchase.

Figure out what you're willing to pay for a lead before creating paid ad campaigns.

  • Search Engine Marketing / Pay-Per-Click Campaigns
    SEM or Search Engine Marketing is the process of increasing the visibility of websites in search engine results pages through paid advertising. You can use this to send people to your home page, product page, or landing page to get their contact info. We'll talk more about landing pages a little later.

  • Display Ads
    Place your digital creative (video, image, or GIF) as a banner on a website within a display network. Google Display Network is the largest display network, reaching 90% of internet users worldwide.

  • Social Media Ads
    Placing ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

  • TV/Radio ads
    Depending on your industry and target audience, these more traditional methods could be a way to get your product/service in front of more of the right people.

  • Print ads
    Newspapers, magazines, billboards, brochures, local print publications, etc.
Old School PR

You can build awareness for your brand by utilizing traditional public relations strategies.

  • Earned Media
    Any content or material written or created about you or your business that you didn’t pay for or create yourself.

  • Live Events
    You can host or sponsor an event of some type where people can get to meet you and know your brand. Check out this article to learn more about marketing a successful event.

  • Conferences/Trade Shows
    You can attend events that center around your industry. You can meet your industry peers, learn some of the latest tricks of the trade, and expand your network/create new partnerships.

  • Brick-And-Mortar Storefront
    If you operate a physical location, the outer appearance of your building can function as an awareness builder and potential interest generator. Logo and signage play a big part in the potential efficacy of your storefront helping you with this. Check out this article to learn more about logo design essentials.

Interest – Moving Past the Outer Rim and into the Interior of the Funnel

Now that you’ve blipped on the radar of your future super fans, it’s time to turn things up a notch and really start to pique their interest. This will inevitably filter out some of the folks who entered the top part of your funnel, but that is part of the process. So what should you do?

Generate Leads

The second step of your marketing funnel is to generate leads.

In simplest terms, a “lead” is someone (an individual or company) with an interest in what you’re selling. They’ve expressed that interest by engaging with your brand and sharing their contact information (email, phone number, or even social media handle) with you. How do you gather those leads? Here are a few popular methods:

  • Landing Pages

A landing page is a web page that exists to capture leads and guide a visitor toward taking a specific action related to your business goals.

For example, you can setup a contest or giveaway that requires folks submit their email address, phone number or other contact info to get entered to win.

Depending on your type of business, you might use that info to market to your newly gathered leads directly in the future via email or follow up with a phone call.

Landing pages can guide people through your entire sales funnel all by themselves.

Through effective sales copy, they can drive visitors through the rest of your funnel and persuade them to make a purchase.

You can use your blog, social media posts and other content to drive people to your landing pages and turn them into a lead.

Speaking of tracking…
To track activity on your landing page (or anywhere on your website, for that matter), you’ll want to use a tool like Google Analytics and create custom Campaign URLs for each method you use to drive traffic there.

Make a social media post linking to your landing page? Create a Campaign URL that will allow you to track not only how many people visited your landing page via that post, but also what they did once they got to your page.

You can create a custom Campaign URL for every traffic source leading people to your website, i.e. an email blast URL, YouTube URL, Facebook URL, LinkedIn URL, etc.

This will allow you to identify via Google Analytics which channels are bringing you the most promising leads, and you can focus your efforts on those platforms to ideally generate more leads and more conversions.

Your marketing campaign analytics will provide you with all the data you need to optimize your site for conversions.

  • Create a Valuable Newsletter
    A value-packed newsletter jammed with entertaining/informative content can be a great lead capturing tool.

    Offering exclusive promotions, coupon codes, special offers, upcoming events, and more can really get some people moving through your funnel.

    Don’t forget to use custom campaign URLs blasts to track visitor activity on your website attracted there by email.

  • Create a Referral Rewards System
    Give back to your customers and offer them a benefit or discount if they can successfully get others to sign up for and/or buy your product or service.

Decision - Serious Evaluation before making a purchase

At this point, your leads have become serious prospects. You’ve caught their attention, piqued their interest, and now they’re thinking about buying. They aren’t quite ready to close the deal yet because they need more reassurance to see if you fit their needs and budget.

The decision stage of your marketing funnel is crucial to conversion optimization.

This is where you’ll want to include the following bits of content and information to push them toward taking action:

  • Customer Reviews & Testimonials
  • Pricing Pages
  • Competitor Comparisons/Checklists
  • Case Studies
  • Discount Codes

The idea is to give your prospect a picture of what it’s like to be one of your customers. Illustrate how their lives will be enhanced, their investments will be returned, and how numerous benefits will be reaped because they will have joined the flock of super fans of your brand.

Action - conversion from prospect to customer

This is it. The moment you’ve been working toward. Many who entered the top of your funnel in the awareness and even the interest stage have wandered off by this point. Maybe they’ll come back later. But for now, you’ll want to make sure your new customer is setup for success so they can fully utilize and enjoy your product or service.

Offer add-ons and various other rewards to the customers who have converted to incentivize them to purchase again.

Here’s some info you might want to think about providing to folks who’ve reached this stage of your funnel:

  • Bundle packages
  • Add-ons
  • Special offers
  • Training/tips/suggestions on how to best use or enjoy your product/service
  • Insider tips or customer success stories

Advocacy - converted from customer to full-fledged super fan

If your customer has traveled all the way through your funnel and you took good care of them along their journey, then ideally they have converted into a full-fledged super fan. Enjoy unprompted referrals to friends and family, and people who have your back when social media trolls come along and try to ruin your day. Just make sure you keep on taking good care of these customers and they’ll be the gift that keeps on giving!

Highly satisfied customers are some of your best lead generators.

If you’re having trouble with any stage of your sales funnel, contact the digital marketing professionals at Robert Sharp & Associates in Rapid City, SD. We can identify where any breakdowns in your funnel may be and assist you with refining your strategy to ensure your businesses’ sales funnel keeps flowing.

Contact us today for a free digital marketing consultation to see how we can help you refine and better analyze your sales and marketing funnels!

Need a hand optimizing your sales and marketing funnels?

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